Sunday, July 25, 2010

Australia = China

Stephen Conroy is an idiot.  A somewhat intelligent one, however, but an idiot all the same.  He thinks we Australians will let him introduce a "secret" government Internet filter that there's no accountability for - the government will ban sites it wants to and there's no way to justify what's being banned and worse - no need to justify what's being banned as there's no authority to which it has to answer.

Conroy claims it will protect children and make it impossible to stumble across child pornography.  Well, if this idiot wanted to do a bit of (disgusting and disturbing) research using his own brain, he'd realise that the vast, vast majority of child porn isn't available on the open web, but it is hidden behind gates that need authentication before you can get to the content - often behind VPN connections using military-grade encryption protocols.

The likelihood that anyone will accidentally stumble upon child porn is extremely low - as this means that the authorities will stumble upon these sites and be able to find and prosecute their members.

And now in addition to an expensive, ineffective Internet Filter that even the child advocacy agencies and organizations such as Australian Council of State School Organisations, the Australian Library and Information Association, the Internet Industry Association, Google, Yahoo! and iiNet all argue against on grounds of, well, its ridiculous cost and utter ineffectiveness, the Governement is trying to have all Telcos/ISPs record every single site we visit on the web.  Need more proof?  Have a read of this Sydney Morning Herald story.

So, even though Conroy's functionally retarded Internet Filter won't be used to record the IP addresses of visitors to sites that are not on the banned list, they are looking at introducing, through the back door, more legislation to record every single web page that you visit.

Now, I don't visit any sites that I need to be concerned about, but that's not the point.  I don't live in a nanny state, in a "restricted rights" society like some of the more draconian communist or religious states.  And I don't want to.  If I did, I'd move to China or Afghanistan or somewhere else the government wants to restrict my rights and freedoms in an oppressive way.  I don't want to see an Australia where the Government introduces draconian, privacy-invading legislation like this and doesn't consider it "in the public interest" to let us know this is happening (or at least being proposed).  This is most definitely not the Australia I grew up in.


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, July 23, 2010

.NET Redistributables (Update to 4.0)

I have updated my list of links to the standalone .NET redistributable installers.  Please go to this blog post to see the updated list, including the .NET 4.0 standalone redistributables.


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Apple made a boo boo. Make it all better.

For any iPhone 4 owners out there who are suffering from the "you're holding it wrong" design flaw in the external metal antenna (it looks great, but it performs badly - form over function - who'da thunk that would ever be a bad design strategy?) there's now something available to make Apple's boo boo all better:

The truly magical and revolutionary Antenn-aid for iPhone 4, available in a colorful 6-pack to suit the language you're currently using to describe your new phone and its design team.

Now, this has *got* to be better than a piece of duct tape or a dab of RockHard!


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cut-Price BPOS Hits Smaller Players Hard

Not only is Microsoft taking to their competitors with an axe, but they are not leaving much room in their pricing structure for their partner channel to make any form of profit.  Yes, BPOS (and its competitors) can be quite good for certain clients, however there's close to SFA margin in selling BPOS, which makes it hard for Microsoft's Partner channel to provide quality service to their clients to which they are sellig the BPOS solution.

That means that Microsoft's Partner channel isn't all that enamored with Microsoft these days and is looking at their options - and a number of those options exist outside Microsoft.  Options such as Kerio Connect.  Options such as Linux.  Options that still include both onsite and hosted components.

SBS 2008, for example, needs a Quad Core, 12GB with fast RAID HDD system to be installed on.  You *could* drop that to 8 GB RAM if there are less than 10 users and these users aren't heavy email users, but that's the realistic minimum spec.  And that's going to set you back somewhere in the ballpark of AU$8000+, not including the operating system.  SBS Code Name 7 will likely require 16GB RAM and *may* work with 12GB.

A Linux solution could be configured on a much less powerful server, somewhere in the $3000 vicinity.  Remember, this is an SMB - not a company with 250 staff and $75m+ of turnover.  An SMB.  Even Microsoft's upcoming SBS Code Name Aurora, with its BPOS integration, will require a not insignificant investment in an on-premise server - more than an equivalent Linux-based solution would cost.

So, keep an open (source) mind, keep an eye on what the REAL needs of the business are, keep an eye on what non-Microsoft solutions are around, keep an eye on what the business can actually afford and keep an eye on the cloud - hybrid solutions and even on-premise solutions are more than suitable to many SMBs.  Just as cloud solutions are suitable for some, too!  :)

We all need to make profit to live - living off the crumbs of BPOS alone won't be enjoyable.  There's a lot of change coming in the IT industry and BPOS isn't the only option on the table.


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Angus Kidman's Mastercheap Challenge

Angus Kidman from Lifehacker Australia has taken up the challenge to live for one week on a strict budget of AU$25.00 and to make sure he does this properly, isn't buying in bulk nor accepting freebies from anyone.  Sure, if you needed to do this for a longer period, you'd be able to buy in bulk and cook from more basic ingredients and if there were more people, you could live a little easier with 4 people for $100 than a single person for $25, but the challenge was for a single man to live on $25 of food for one week.  He seems to be doing alright so far...

Mastercheap: Eating For $25 A Week


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, July 19, 2010

I recently blogged about the Exchange sync issues that Apple introduced with iOS 4.0 and the unsigned fix that was initially released to "address" this issue.  "Address" because it masks, not corrects the issue that Apple caused.  Anyway, there's now an updated "fix" for this issue - a similar masking attempt, not a real attempt, but it can be found here.

Now, this "fix" requires that you're running iOS 4.0.1 - the "we'll replace the overestimated signal strength bars with a meaningless video" iOS update.  You know, the one that was released to "fix" the iPhone 4 antenna physical design flaw.  The one that cannot be fixed by software - only by a recall and release of iPhone 4 R2.  ;)

And, of course, as I check this all just before posting this blog post, the signed "fix" isn't available for download, despite the Apple KB article linking to their own fix...  I wonder if Apple is employing people who used to work on the Microsoft Website now?  :)


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, July 16, 2010

SBS.Next Videos

OK, now don't get too excited by the woman delivering the video (yes, she really can stay in a monotone throughout the entire video and speak without any inkling of excitement in her voice throughout both of these videos), but here's a little bit more information from Microsoft about their SBS Code Name Aurora and SBS 7 products that may one day be released (if they don't follow down the EBS path).


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

SBS 2008 DCOM 10006 Errors

One of the factory installed errors that a number of SBS 2008 deployments are reporting each day is the following:

 This error occurs because DCOM hasn't been configured properly/completely on all of the computers in question (ie the SBS 2008 box and the machine(s) that you're seeing this error reported from).  The following commands, entered in an elevated "cmd" window on all computers (including the SBS 2008 box) will address the issue by enabling DCOM communication between the computers:

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="remote administration" new enable=yes

Now, DCOM (Distributed Component Object Model) is Microsoft's method of communicating between various software components on machines on the network.  So what we're doing with the above command is to enable the pre-defined "Remote Administration" group on each computer to be able to communicate outside itself and to the other computers on the network.


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SBS.Next Announced - For Later

At WPC, Microsoft announced the announcement of the next versions of SBS - sometime in the next 3 months we may see a pre-release.  (Of course, we were promised a new version of SBS 2008 within 180 days of Windows Server 2008 R2 being released and that never materialized.)

So, 2 versions - one with some Cloud functionality and one without.  I wonder how they can still claim that the Cloud killed EBS 2.0 when they are releasing on-premise versions of SBS?  Hhmmm...

Anyway, to read Microsoft's information about SBS.next, have a look at this page.  No - you're right - there's not much there at all.  There's also Kevin Kean's blog post.


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Thermaltake Armor+ MX Case

It's been a while now and I HAVE to write this.

This is one of the poorest designed cases I've seen in a great many years.  There are a number of issues with this case that shouldn't have passed pre-design:

  1. Hard Disks
    1. The way they mount sideways means that you need both sides off just to install a drive
    2. Where they mount means that full size ATX mainboards, as most these days have right-angle mount SATA connectors, end up losing access to a number of the SATA ports - you cannot get a cable in no matter what cabe (straight nor right-angled) and no matter how hard you try
    3. You have to force all the HDD cabling into a small space just to get it to the back of the hard drives
  2. Fans
    1. The large 230mm side fan is made of such appallingly flimsy material that the fan blades flex, causing an unbearable amount of noise
  3. Stupid flappy things
    1. The stupid flappy things on the front of the case just get in the way - of the CD, of removable HDDs, of my knees, of cables... They just get in the way. They are utterly pointless.
  4. Stupid plastic toolless slot clips
    1. The stupid plastic toolless clips that are meant to hold in any cards you add to the system, such as a video card, basically break the first time you try and clip them in place. theya re made of some thermosetting plastic that doesn't have enough "give" to be able to flex as much as is required to make them functional

Now, aside from this, the case actually DOES stop all of the bits in it from falling in a heap.  That's probably the best thing about this case.  Unfortunately there are so many bad features that it leaves me wondering where Thermaltake went so wrong and if they have totally lost the plot!


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Nasty, But True

Bill Gates made Microsoft what it was. Ballmer and Ozzie are making Microsoft what it would have been without Gates.

There you go - and you can quote me on that!  :)


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Get Back On Your Bike

OK, so I've finally listened to myself and I got back on my bike.  I recently bought an Elite Crono Fluid Elastogel trainer from Wiggle.co.uk.  Even with freight (which cost AU$104), it was $150 cheaper than buying one locally.  Which is fucking insane, if you ask me!

So, I've cleared out more crap in the back room, mounted the bike on this and a CycleOps Riser Block and am starting (slowly) to get back in the saddle.  There's a bit more crap I need to clear out of this room and that's happening.  And the crap around the office is making a serious march binward (and organizedward - not that that these are real words, but you get my drift...)

As the bike has been sitting, gathering dust for so long I probably should take it in and get a good service done on it, get it all re-aligned and rocking and rolling so that I don't have to worry too much about gumming up anything important.  Actually, I may take it in tomorrow night as it is late night trading.  Better to be safe than sorry...


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Microsoft KIN - Dead Already

Microsoft KIN was a joke when it was released. It did *nothing* that the iPhone (and likely Android) didn't already do better. What did Steve Ballmer and Ray Ozzie expect? Did they expect the market to fall over itself to buy an inferior product?  Microsoft KIN has been killed off.


I've said for quite some time now that Microsoft, under the "leadership" of Ballmer and Ozzie is a once-great ... See Morecompany who has become utterly directionless. There is no visionary at the wheel and no-one who understands what a leading tech company should be.

In June 2008 I blogged that Microsoft treated WinMo like a redheaded stepchild and then in Sep 2009 I blogged that Ballmer finally admitted I was right.

Nine months later WinMo 7 is still vaporware and this KIN abomination was released. This shows quite clearly that Microsoft is losing the plot. No wonder Apple is now a more highly valued company on the stock market than Microsoft! (And don't forget that Ballmer is an accountant, and a retail store accountant at that. It shows how little he knows about running what was a great tech company before he (and Ozzie) got given the reigns.)  I wonder how long any responsible Board would keep a "leadership" team that's performing this poorly in place?

Now, do you remember back to July 2009?  "'I don't know if they can't make up their mind or what the problem is over there, but the last time I checked, you don't need two client operating systems,' said Ballmer about Google. 'It's good to have one.'"  So, exactly how many client operating systems does Microsoft currently have?  (XP, Vista, 7, XP Embedded, Windows Embedded, KIN (now deceased), Zune, WinMo 6.5.x, WinMo 7 (still vaporware)...)  Ballmer has an issue with counting - and for an accountant, that's a serious issue!

Here's another opinion on the killing off of KIN.
Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

And Now, For Something Completely Different

I'm sure that we can all find a few points (at least) in the list below that will improve our lives.  I know I sure did - all that I need to do is to put them into practice...

Expressions of Advice

  1. Walk for 10-30 minutes every day, while smiling.
  2. Sit quietly for at least 10 minutes every day, in isolation if necessary.
  3. Upon arising in the morning, one must immediately say “My goal today is....”
  4. Listen to quality music every day. This is real nourishment for the soul.
  5. Live with the 3 Es: Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
  6. Play more games than last year.
  7. Read more books than last year.
  8. Look at the sky at least once a day, appreciating the majesty of the world that surrounds us.
  9. Dream more while awake.
  10. Eat more foods that come from trees and plants. Eat less manufactured foods.
  11. Eat berries and nuts. Drink green tea, plenty of water, and a glass of wine each day; toast something beautiful in life and, if possible, in the company of a loved one.
  12. Try to make at least 3 people laugh every day.
  13. Eliminate clutter in the home, the car, and the office. Let a new energy enter your life.
  14. Don’t spend your precious time immersed in rumors, things from the past, negative thoughts or things beyond your control. It is better to invest your energy in the positive present.
  15. Life is a school, and we are here to learn. Problems are lessons that come and go; what we learn from them will serve us for the rest of our lives.
  16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a beggar.
  17. Smile and laugh more often.
  18. Do not let an opportunity pass to hug a friend.
  19. Life is too short to waste time hating someone.
  20. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Nobody else does.
  21. It is not necessary to win every argument. One must accept that the other person is not in agreement, and learn from his position.
  22. Make peace with your past, so as not to ruin your present.
  23. Don’t compare your life with others. You have no idea of the highways they have traveled during their lives.
  24. Nobody is responsible for your happiness, except yourself.
  25. Remember well that we have no control over what happens to us, but only what we do.
  26. Learn something new every day.
  27. What others think of us is not completely under our control.
  28. Appreciate your body, and its marvels.
  29. Whether the situation is good or bad, it will change.
  30. Work will not take care of us when we are sick. Our friends will. Stay in contact with them.
  31. Reject everything that is not useful, amusing, or beautiful.
  32. Have fantastic sex, always in harmony with the other person.
  33. Phone your family regularly, and tell them “Hi, I was thinking of you”.
  34. Each day, before going to sleep, say: I am thankful for _______________. Today, I succeeded in _____________________.

Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

BP - Enough Said

Do you want to get disgusted at what BP's doing to the Gulf of Mexico?  Do you want to take a glimpse at why reporters are not being allowed to fly over the Gulf?  Do you want to know why I'm not buying fuel (nor anything else) from BP-supplied service stations until they fix this mess?  Then have a look at this video.  (Ignore the creationist plug at the end - the rest of the footage is frightening enough without this rot.)


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Monday, July 05, 2010

Adobe Updates

Just a reminder to all that there have been recent Adobe Flash Player (10.1.53.64), Adobe Reader (9.3.3) and Adobe Air (2.0.2.12610) updates out that address various stability and security issue.  I *strongly* recommend keeping up to date with all updates, and especially Adobe updates.

In what I consider really poor form, Adobe Reader available for download at http://get.adobe.com/reader/ is Adobe Reader 9.3.0 - not the current secure version, but a versikon released in January 2010 that has several known security vulnerabilities, at least one of which was actively exploited.  So if you download and install this, MAKE SURE you download all updates (which will take multiple loops through the updater) before you open any documents with it!


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Friday, July 02, 2010

Emails With Blank Subject Line

One of my pet peeves is emails (sent or received) with a blank subject loine - this says to me "I couldn't be arsed letting you know what the email is about, so feel free to ignore it if you want".

So I was about to let a mate know how to get Outlook 2003 and 2007 to inform senders of their faux pas when I did a quick Google and found this description at Experts Exchange that saved me a lot of typing.  Thanks BlueDevilFan - you saved me from getting RSI 15 minutes sooner than I will!  :)

Remember that Outlook 2010, by default, will warn users of their impending stupidity.  I like that move on Microsoft's behalf!  :)


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

iOS 4.0 And Exchange Issues

In case you think you're going crazier, no, there *is* an iOS4 issue that affects Exchange syncing.  There's this (unsigned) fix by Apple for starters, but it is not going to fix all of the issues.

Have a read of this ARNnet and this MSExchangeTeam post for more information.

You can almost hear Steve Jobs saying "You're sending email the wrong way and you're connecting to Exchange Server the wrong way. It isn't our software at fault. We don't write bad code. You will submit to my will - that's what Apple is all about", can't you?  :)


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie

Twitter Is Constantly Broken

Can *anyone* recall a time when Twitter wasn't broken?  It seems that this cloud/social networking service is constantly suffering issues of one form or another.


Regards,

The Outspoken Wookie